Marine Vacth stars in Ozon's latest erotic thrillerYoutube/FilmsActu

François Ozon´s latest film, L´Amant Double, caused a frisson of excitement and confusion at this year´s Festival de Cannes, and has been hailed as one of the most bizarrely erotic films ever put to screen.

From the opening shot, we already know we’re in for quite the visual experience. Enter Chloé (Jeune et Jolie´s Marine Vacth), right in the middle of her gynaecological examination. In a peculiar homage to Luis Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou,Ozon lingers on Chloé´s genitals before fading to a close-up of her eye. This surreal first scene sets the tone for the rest of the film – both ludicrously laughable and welcomely explicit at the same time.

An excellent balance between clever writing and deliberately cringe-worthy lines

Chloé is a doe-eyed ex-model who suffers from extreme stomach pains. As the cause of her suffering is believed to be mental, Chloé decides to attend therapy sessions. Here she meets (and subsequently falls in love with) her therapist, Paul (Jérémie Renier). Everything seems ideal until Chloé finds out that Paul has an identical twin, Louis, who also happens to be a therapist. Where Paul offers comfort and dull stability, Louis offers charm and sexual excitement. And so begins a devious game, where Chloé finds herself stuck between the two men, questioning and relishing her own sexual power in turn.

The theme of the doppelgänger has long intrigued us. From Dante Gabriel Rosetti´s painting How They Met Themselves to Dostoevsky´s novel The Double, the thought of having an evil alter-ego has been a concept that has fascinated writers, painters, and now film-makers. L´Amant Double puts an interesting spin on the perennial theme by focusing on how the two brothers affect Chloé’s sexuality. Instead of being weakened by the two men, Chloé revels in her position as both desired and desiring. In the end, it is her own sensual allure that scares her more than the twins themselves.


Mountain View

The Music of La piel que habito

Ozon uses double motifs throughout the narrative. Mirrors consistently frame the characters and a set of sculptures showing a pair of identical men and women can often be spotted in the background. We also see an excellent balance between clever writing and deliberately cringe-worthy lines, followed by sex scenes that generate loud chuckles from the audience. Ozon is not interested in creating a movie that will satisfy everyone, instead preferring to provoke in what otherwise would be conventional, romantic moments. Despite being billed as a thriller, it is Ozon´s eccentric humour that makes the movie. Particularly notable are two cats, who crop up in the most unwelcome moments.

L’Amant Double is almost Hitchcockian in its narrative; its body horror elements are reminiscent of both the films of Brian de Palma and Pedro Almodóvar’s La Piel que Habito. It is this dovetailing of the camp and the witty that makes L´Amant Double an incredibly enjoyable viewing. If a movie with beautiful cats, even more beautiful women, crazy editing and a pair of insane twins sounds right up your alley, then by all means, check out L’Amant Double. You have been warned.

Sponsored links